Roadworks have cost us thousands

26/5/2011 (RS)''Mud Island Nurseries on the Southwick Road near Wickham have been suffering with trade loss after roadworks started two weeks ago on the main road outside of their premises.''Pictured is: Business partners Fran Eastop and Michael Willers inside the garden centre.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111942-8650)
26/5/2011 (RS)''Mud Island Nurseries on the Southwick Road near Wickham have been suffering with trade loss after roadworks started two weeks ago on the main road outside of their premises.''Pictured is: Business partners Fran Eastop and Michael Willers inside the garden centre.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111942-8650)
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THE owners of a garden centre have lost thousands of pounds after roadworks started during their busiest time of the year.

Hampshire County Council has been doing the work in Southwick Road in North Boarhunt to strengthen rural roads so they get fewer potholes in winter.

But Frances Eastop and Michael Willers, owners of Mud Island Nursery, say the work has hit them in their busiest two weeks of the year, at the end of May, and many people stopped visiting the centre.

Frances said: ‘It’s become a real issue.

‘Apart from the fact that our takings are down by half each day, we are losing a lot of money a week. The first time we knew that our road was going to be closed was when the signs went up and we had no customers. It’s like a ghost town out there.

‘It’s just crucified us for the past two weeks.

‘We will never make up for what we have lost.’

Councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment and transport, said letters were sent out to properties in the area warning them of the planned diversions.

But the garden centre owners say they did not receive one.

Cllr Kendal, said: ‘As far as possible we aim to minimise the disruption for local residents and businesses, including suspending work over the weekend, and whilst I appreciate that the works do cause some inconvenience, I would ask people to bear with us while this essential work is carried out.’